Multilingual Drupal

Though Drupal core has some basic multilingual support built in, it still needs some help -contributed modules- for being able to build a fully featured multilingual site. I've been working on building better multilingual support into Drupal for some years and still keep maintaining Internationalization module to translate what's left by Drupal core.
Currently we are working on the D8MI initiative to make Drupal 8 really fully multilingual.

First of all, before any kind of SEO, what you need in the first place is high quality content in every language. The kind of content users want to see and people may link to because it is useful and it adds something valuable to the World. In the second place, your site must be optimized for the people that use it, not for search engines. Search engines like Google do a nice job of listing first the best content for users to read.

That said, there are some tips that may help your multilingual Drupal site, that is plenty of high quality content and optimized for users in the first place, work better with search engines and help people find it -provided it is what they're looking for-. Most of this is valid for Drupal, Wordpress or whatever CMS you use, but the tools I am talking about are Drupal specific, which are the ones I've been building for some years...

I am the author and main maintainer of Internationalization module which is the one powering almost every multilingual Drupal site out there.

I know Drupal Gardens doesn't include Internationalization module nor other multilingual goodies or contributed modules, which makes sense to me since i18n is not really and end-user-friendly kind of animal. However I've heard that because of that you cannot build a multilingual site with Drupal Gardens and this may not be really true. Have you heard about the guys that didn't know it was impossible so they did it?

So, since Drupal is so powerful and flexible, that they say ;-), I was wondering how hard it could be to build some basic multilingual web site only with the modules and features they provide with Drupal Gardens. Let me see... you have all Drupal core -which includes Locale and Content translation-, you have Views, you have Pathauto, then you have Block visibility options which are more flexible than some people imagine... It seems there are some features missing but we'll try to substitute them by some.. imagination.. (that you may call ugly workarounds too).

Photo of Rosetta Stone as an example of a multilingual solution

A few years ago, when I started working with Drupal I was needing some multilingual blog to publish about my work and thoughts in two languages. Then I started this Internationalization module which I've been maintaining for all that time. Now, 7 years and a lot of versions later, it is still is quite hard to build a multilingual site with it.

There is a reason for this -someone would call it an excuse- and that is: Internationalization module is not a multilingual solution. It is an API module, or a toolbox, to build many of these different solutions. Just like Drupal is not a web site, but the tool to build thousands of different great web sites.

'Yes but, How does a multilingual solution look like?'

It's been 5 years since the first version of the Internationalization module (4.7) was released. Though Drupal 6 included Content translation, and Drupal 7 provides some cool new features like Multilingual fields and really improved Language management, it stil needs some 'help' to be able to build a full featured multilingual site.

Which means yes, there will be a Drupal 7 version of Internationalization module. And here's the first Beta, which comes enhanced and plenty of new features. This is just a quick overview of the module (actually a package of 12+ modules) and some old and new features it includes. Read on or jump to the download link at the end.


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